Posts Tagged ‘Sovereign Debt’

EXCESS GLOBAL DEBT IS STILL THE PROBLEM

EXCESS GLOBAL DEBT IS STILL THE PROBLEM

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

By Comstock Partners:

Berlin Laboratory Test For Swine Flu

The impact of the Greek debt crisis on the stock market does not come as a surprise to us.  It is one part of the chain of reaction from the excess global debt problem and the related “cycle of deflation” that we have been warning about since the late 1990s.   At that time we wrote about the large amount of debt being used to finance the dot-com boom that collapsed in the early 2000s.  From 2003 to 2007 we continually pointed out that the housing boom and related debt buildup sparked by the Fed’s extended low-interest rate policy would inevitably have a bad ending.

Since that time we have been insistent that without the reduction of both global and domestic debt any economic recovery would not be sustainable. However, rather than reducing overall debt, most nations, including the U.S., have shifted debt from private to sovereign hands.  These actions were virtually certain to result in sovereign debt problems, and these have now begun to show up in spades.  As usual the weaker entities have been hit first (Dubai and Greece) and the debts are now in the process of being transferred to the stronger nations.  The key problem is that the stronger nations have only limited capacity, at best, to take on a significant amount of additional debt, and they run the danger of being dragged down as well in a continuation of the chain reaction.  Without a major deleveraging of debt the economy cannot return to its historical long-term growth rate.  But the process of deleveraging will result in below-average growth with recurring recessions until the process of reducing debt to manageable levels is completed.  The process of deleveraging almost always results in deflation, and a series of “beggar thy neighbor” policies, although inflation can eventually follow as nations attempt to print money in an effort to avert defaulting on their debt. (Please see Comstock’s cycle of deflation chart below)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Hydraulic excavator with skyscrapers in background

The Greek debt problem, therefore, is not an isolated event, but part of a chain reaction in response to decades of debt expansion that must now be unwound.  As soon as the Dubai crisis emerged late last year we have seen it as just the first in a series of sovereign debt crises that would emerge over time.  Even if the EU and IMF…
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HOW QUICKLY GREED TURNS TO FEAR

HOW QUICKLY GREED TURNS TO FEAR

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Frightened Woman

As the market complacently melted higher we continued to warn investors of the increasing three headed risks in the market.  The combination of China tightening, financial regulation and Greek sovereign debt continued to weigh over foreign markets and U.S. investors just continued to live in their domestic bubble where nothing matters besides how many iPads Apple sells on any given day.  Of course, that complacency is quickly catching up to investors.  As a risk manager this is my primary goal here at the site – not always to highlight the next best opportunity, but to help you keep from getting your face ripped off.  My first short positions in over two years were not implemented due to some crystal ball I have hidden away in my desk, but due to pure risk management.  The environment of the last two months has been rife with complacency.  Unfortunately, the situation is little improved across the globe as more government intervention proves to do little in helping matters.

The situation has deteriorated in Europe over the course of the last 24 hours as spreads in European sovereigns continued to blow out today.  My guess is that Trichet is in Berlin today having his Hank Paulson moment – down on one knee in front of a powerful woman (Merkel) begging for her to accept his proposal of “going nuclear”, i.e., buying bonds.  I can only imagine how the German heads of the Bundesbank must be feeling right now.  Disgusted is the only way they can feel.  Do they try to save the EMU or do they potentially inflate themselves into an even larger mess while imposing harsh fiscal austerity measures on member nations that almost guarantee depression?  There truly are no good answers here.

PORT HOW QUICKLY GREED TURNS TO FEAR

The scariest part…
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The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain (folks)

The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain (folks)

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker  

How backwards does a modern nation have to be for a 20% unemployment number to be even remotely tolerable?

I’m always fascinated with democracies that choose to embrace a form of quasi-communism after watching every single one of these experiments toppled – from Russia to Latin America to Asia.

When will they learn?  22% unemployment?  25%?  30%?  Must the people be boiling and eating shoe leather before the marxist regime is finally dismantled?

In Spain’s case, apparently.

The timing of the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombing couldn’t have been worse…3 days later, a nationwide legislative election was held in which the Socialist Party, under current Prime Minister Zapatero, pulled off a major upset.  The socialists carried the vote as cowardly citizens ran from the previous ruling party which had been tough on terror, essentially performing the script that the Islamo-Fascists had written for them.

Immediately following the election, Zapatero let the populace of Spain know that there would be no coalition government, that the Socialist Party would be using its perceived mandate to take the country hard-left.

The trouble with this large-scale adoption of big government was that it began just prior to a meltdown.  Within just a few years, the global real estate bubble began its descent into hell.  The Spanish had gorged on mortgages and buildings with the best of us, levering up to a median…
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Reminder: It’s Not Sovereign Debt That Folks Are Freaking Out About, It’s A Run On The Banks

Reminder: It’s Not Sovereign Debt That Folks Are Freaking Out About, It’s A Run On The Banks

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock 

We ran this chart earlier, but it’s worth running again, considering the Europe-wide carnage we saw today.

This is not just about sovereign debt. This is about a major freakout about the banking system.

The word from S&P is that Greek debt holders will take a major haircut on their holdings, and that means serious problems for banks. (See the full list of victims here)

Ths surging CDS of Portuguese and Spanish banks is a major red flag.

From CMA Datavision

CMA euro bank cds

 


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Smoking Swap Guns in EuroLand: Sovereign Debt Buyer Beware

Smoking Swap Guns in EuroLand: Sovereign Debt Buyer Beware 

Courtesy of Reggie Middleton’s BoomBustBlog.com

Inner court, Fleet

There are broad indications hinting that Italy and Greece are not the only countries that have used swap agreements to manipulate its budget and deficit figures. France and Portugal may be two other European economies which have resorted to similar manipulations in the past in order to qualify as part of single currency member nations (Euro Zone). Below is a small subset of the research that I have been gathering as I construct a global sovereign default model. This model is very comprehensive and thus far has indicated that quite a few (as in more than two or three) nations of significance have a 90% probability of defaulting on their debt in the near to medium term.

More on this later. Now let’s dig into what we have found that looks like gross manipulation of the numbers in order to hide debt in several European countries. I think I’ll call it the Pan-European Ponzi. Conspiracy theorists are going to love this post.

Like Italy (see below), Portugal has also been known for years to take advantage of derivatives contracts to dress up its budget numbers in the late 1990s. In a recent press article (Debt Deals Haunt Europe) Deutsche Bank’s spokesman Roland Weichert commented that the bank executed currency swaps on behalf of Portugal between 1998 and 2003. He also said that Deutsche Bank’s (DB) business with Portugal included "completely normal currency swaps" and other business activity, which he declined to discuss in detail. He also added that the currency swaps on behalf of Portugal were within the "framework of sovereign-debt management," and the trades weren’t intended to hide Portugal’s national debt position (yeah okay!).

Though the Portuguese finance ministry declined to comment on whether Portugal has used currency swaps such as those used by Greece, it said Portugal only uses financial instruments that comply with European Union rules. Thus, if the use of these instruments complied with


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Engulfed by Greek Fire

Engulfed by Greek Fire

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker

Greece

Greek Fire was one of the most destructive weapons of the Dark Ages.

The Byzantine Empire used this specific incendiary mixture to fend off countless attackers, particularly in naval battles as Greek Fire could even burn on the surface of the sea.  It could spread to every part of a ship at sea or leap to other vessels in an enemy fleet. Once unleashed, Greek Fire became nearly unstoppable.

Stocks are battling with their own version of Greek Fire this morning – as the threat of a Moodys or S&P downgrade on the sovereign debt of Greece threatens to unleash a firestorm of markdowns and panic around the world.  Like the ancient weapon itself, investors are worried that the flames will be impossible to douse, spreading through the Euro Zone and possibly beyond.  The Dow is off 165-ish as I write.

The jobless claim numbers this morning certainly didn’t do us any favors either but I believe that the sovereign debt story is bigger. It is playing havoc with currencies, bonds and stocks in a way that employment reports cannot.

There are those voicing the argument that this Greek Fire can be contained. I’d say two things – first, we have a pretty lousy record of "containing" anything over the last 15 years (think sub prime) and perhaps its too early to be making any judgements one way or the other. 

I’m just hoping not to have to do a Clash-themed post about "Spanish Bombs" or a frozen credit analogy called "Italian Ices".

One positive is that to this day, we still don’t know the exact Byzantine formula for their Greek Fire.  On the contrary, we know very well what the ingredients were that led to the calamity in Greece, so hopefully the solution and future prevention will be easier to come by. 


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CREDIT SUISSE: 5 REASONS TO STAY BULLISH NEAR-TERM

CREDIT SUISSE: 5 REASONS TO STAY BULLISH NEAR-TERM

Smiling Businessman Looking Down at a Toy Bull on a Table and Imitating Its Horns

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Credit Suisse recently reiterated their call to buy the dips (see here for the original call).   Despite being bearish overall on 2010, they maintain that the first half of 2010 could be a fairly constructive year for equities (see their full year outlook here).   In the near-term, they continue to like stocks due to 5 primary reasons.

Over the last few months the markets have been roiled by sovereign debt fears, China tightening fears, Fed actions, and bank regulation.  Credit Suisse says these fears are all overblown.

First, they say the fears in Greece are substantially overblown and will not lead to a global bond funding crisis:

1) Fears of a global sovereign credit crisis are overdone: US, Japan and German bond yields have fallen, as has gold (hardly the sign of a funding crisis). The problems in peripheral Europe are akin to those of California in the US: Severe deflation is required, but the problem is confined. A global bond funding crisis will not be seen, in our opinion, until private sector credit growth returns (probably in 2011)—government interest payments as a % of GDP are still low, at 1.3% of GDP in the US. The risk, in our view, is that the UK could end up with a minority government, which might bring forward a UK funding crisis.

Second, CS says the fears about China are overdone.  Growth remains robust in China.  Other countries can only wish to have such a problem.  As of now, it is not a major concern:

2) Worries about China  tightening:  We believe China is likely to grow at around 10% until there is major economic, as opposed to financial, overheating, which would be reflected in a sharp acceleration in wage growth and export price inflation.

A lot has been said about the end of quantitative easing and what will occur in bond markets when the Fed stops buying.  CS says demand for bonds will remain high regardless of the Fed’s actions.

3) The end of QE: We think banks will replace central banks as


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Fear, loathing, and the federal budget deficit

Do deficits matter?  Here, Tim Iacono takes issue with L. Randall Wray’s essay on why they don’t.  What do you think?  – Ilene

Fear, loathing, and the federal budget deficit

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made

L. Randall Wray looks at the differences between the federal budget and household budgets in this piece at New Deal 2.0 and comes away wondering what all the deficit fuss is about.

Whenever a demagogue wants to whip up hysteria about federal budget deficits, he or she invariably begins with an analogy to a household’s budget: “No household can continually spend more than its income, and neither can the federal government”. On the surface that, might appear sensible; dig deeper and it makes no sense at all. A sovereign government bears no obvious resemblance to a household. Let us enumerate some relevant differences.

1. The US federal government is 221 years old … There is no “day of reckoning”, no final piper-paying date for the sovereign government.

2. With one brief exception, the federal government has been in debt every year since 1776.

3. With the exception of the Clinton surpluses, every significant reduction of the outstanding debt has been followed by a depression

4. The federal government is the issuer of our currency … I don’t know any household that is able to spend by crediting bank deposits and reserves

5. Some claim that if the government continues to run deficits, some day the dollar’s value will fall … But only a moron would refuse to accept dollars today on the belief that at some unknown date in the hypothetical and distant future their value might be less than today’s value

If the speaker claims that government budget deficits are unsustainable, that government must eventually pay back all that debt, ask him or her why we have managed to avoid retiring debt since 1837-is 173 years long enough to establish a “sustainable” pattern?

Close-up of a slice of lemon on a glass of juice

In the words of Michal Gold of The Big Chill, "I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex".

This is a pretty juicy one…

Surely there is wisdom in that…
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Everything You Need To Know About Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swaps In 90 Seconds

Everything You Need To Know About Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swaps In 90 Seconds

UkraineCourtesy of Vince Veneziani of Clusterstock/The Business Insider

In case you haven’t heard, everyone’s freaking out over sovereign debt.

And it makes perfect sense. Using the 5-year credit default swap spread as a benchmark, one can now check out just how risky some countries have become in recent years. Remember: two years ago, no one in the world would have thought that Dubai would default.

But let’s step back a second.

CMA Vision has put together an excellent presentation on the situation all around the world in various regions. A quick read through this will get you caught up on who is weak and who is strong.

Click to see the charts ->

Photo Source: AP


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The Sovereign Debt Bomb Goes Off

The Sovereign Debt Bomb Goes Off

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker

We’ve been talking about this stuff for awhile now here on TRB, but no one was on top of the sovereign debt minefield like the Zero Hedge gang.  In case you missed ignored it, they’ve basically been handing you what the market is awakening to now on a platter.

Bad news from Harrisburg, PA to Southern Europe to Los Angeles today.  And those jobs numbers certainly didn’t help.  We should be at roughly 0% employment by 2016 at this rate.

The Dow is down around 200 as we speak, flirting with the psychologically meaningful 10,000 level.

Here’s what you need to read…

Hell Breaks Loose (Barrons)

Chanos on the China Farce (Zero Hedge)

Data Dump Worsens Market Mood (WSJ MarketBeat)

Dollar Rallies Back To July Levels As The Euro Crushed (Zero Hedge)

Everyone’s Freaking Out About Sovereign Debt (Clusterstock)

Getting ugly out there, wear a helmet.

*****

Across the Universe 

 


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Phil's Favorites

Trump Tweeting As Much As Ever Amid Twitter Standoff

 

Trump Tweeting As Much As Ever Amid Twitter Standoff

By , Statista

President Trump has signed an executive order which aims to remove some of the legal protection given to social media companies, though it is expected to face significant legal hurdles. In a nutshell, it sets out to clarify the Communications Decency Act, handing regulators the power to file legal proceedings against social media companies for the way they police content on their platforms. Trump's decision to take action comes two days after Twitter attached a fact check to one of his tweets lambasting mail-in voting. He then threatened to close ...



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ValueWalk

Gold supply chain in recovery mode after pandemic shutdown

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The gold supply chain was largely shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world. However, things are starting to open back up, and production is beginning again. The World Gold Council studied the gold supply chain, how it was impacted by the pandemic, and how the disruption of the supply chain has affected investment demand for the yellow metal.

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Disruption to the gold supply chain

The World Gold Council said the gold supply chain is entirely global because the metal is mined on evert continent except Antarctica and refined in nume...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Antigen tests for COVID-19 are fast and easy - and could solve the coronavirus testing problem despite being somewhat inaccurate

 

Antigen tests for COVID-19 are fast and easy – and could solve the coronavirus testing problem despite being somewhat inaccurate

Antibodies are incredibly good at finding the coronavirus. Antigen tests put them to work. Sergii Iaremenko/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Courtesy of Eugene Wu, University of Richmond

In late February, I fell ill with a fever and a cough. As a biochemist who teaches a class on viruses, I’d been tracking the outbreak of...



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Zero Hedge

Ted Cruz Accuses Twitter Of Violating Sanctions Against Iran, Demands DoJ Probe

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

We've mentioned in nearly every single one of our posts about this week's dustup between the president and Twitter that the Ayato...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Tech Indicator Suggesting A Historic Top Could Be Forming?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Tech stocks have been the clear leader of the stock market recovery rally, this year and since the lows back in 2007!

But within the ranks of leadership, and an important ratio may be sending a caution message to investors.

In today’s chart, we look at the ratio of large-cap tech stocks (the Nasdaq 100 Index) to the broader tech market (the Nasdaq Composite) on a “monthly” basis.

The large-cap concentrated Nasdaq 100 (only 100 stocks) has been the clear leader for several years versus the ...



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The Technical Traders

M2 Velocity Collapses - Could A Bottom In Capital Velocity Be Setting Up?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

M2 Velocity is the measurement of capital circulating within the economy.  The faster capital circulates within the economy, the more that capital is being deployed within the economy to create output and opportunities for economic growth.  When M2 Velocity contracts, capital is being deployed in investments or assets that prevent that capital from further circulation within the economy – thus preventing further output and opportunity growth features.

The decline in M2 Velocity over the past 10+ years has been dramatic and consistent with the dramatic new zero US Federal Reserve interest rates initiated since just after the 2008 credit crisis market colla...



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Lee's Free Thinking

US Southern States COVID19 Cases - Let's Give Credit Where Due

 

US Southern States COVID19 Cases – Let’s Give Credit Where Due

Courtesy of  

The number of new COVID 19 cases has been falling in the Northeast, but the South is not having the same experience. The number of new cases per day in each Southern state has been rangebound for the past month.

And that’s assuming that the numbers haven’t been manipulated. We know that in Georgia’s case at least, they have been. And there are suspicions about Florida as well, as the State now engages in a smear campaign against the fired employee who built its much praised COVID19 database and dashboar...



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Chart School

Is this your local response to COVID 19

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

This is off topic, but a bit of fun!


This is the standard reaction from the control freaks.








This is the song for post lock down!







What should be made mandatory? Vaccines, hell NO! This should be mandatory: Every one taking their tops off in the sun, they do in Africa!

Guess which family gets more Vitamin D and eats less sugary carbs, TV Show



...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Feb. 26, 1pm EST

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.